|Music from the Hawkwind family tree - Part 2
Many thanks to Graham who penned this piece - which is the second installment in the series...!
Spiral Realms is Simon House with Len Del Rio and this was the first
album to come out under the Spiral Realms banner, released on
Cleopatra (CLEO95002) in 1995. Unlike many other Hawk-family
instrumental albums, the material is generally well-structured and
melodic. It lacks the energy of the best Hawkwind but most of the six
tracks (and especially "Tritium") would work well if placed between
faster, heavier numbers on a Hawkwind album.
The title track "A Trip To G9" features a strong melodic hook (played
on synthesized voices) and is a pleasing combination of melody,
sequenced rhythm and effects. Part way through, and deep in the mix,
someone starts rambling on about flying saucers. A promising start to the album. "Elements II" is a
mercifully short cacophonous linking track (all effects and no tune).
"Red Giant" starts out with a flurry of swirling synths and violin, resolving into a distinguishable structure
after about 3 minutes. Thereafter it meanders along nicely, with different synthesized sounds including
guitar and flute coming to the fore at different points. At around the 10-minute mark the effects start to
dominate and a heavy rhythm track takes over, eventually fading out just past the 12-minute mark.
The violin is prominent in the following "Tritium" and this track would not have sounded out of place on
"Warrior on the Edge of Time". At six minutes long it is also relatively concise.
"1000 Years Under Solar Sails" begins with eerie sound effects before the main melody and a synthesised
didgeridoo-like rhythm track take over. At around 5 minutes the rhythm briefly drops out and the violin
comes in, before another five minutes of much the same. Finally, "Solar Flares" is rather low key,
meandering along for 12 minutes, and only slightly marred by an irritating sampled voice.
Some of the best: Spiral Realms - A Trip To G9
Although I promised not to review Motorhead CDs,
this CD sneaks in because it covers much of
Lemmy's career. However, there is nothing here by
Sam Gopal and the most recent Motorhead track is
The first track is "It's Alright" by Lemmy's 1960s
band the Rockin' Vicars. Written by Pete Townsend,
it inevitably sounds rather like The Who. [It seems to
be an early version of "The Kids Are Alright" in fact].
Lemmy doesn't sing on it.
Then we get two Hawkwind tracks ("The Watcher",
"Lost Johnny") and nine Motorhead tracks (one with
Girlschool) before reaching Lemmy's duet with
Wendy O'Williams on "Stand By Your Man". In
interviews, Lemmy has always said that the late
Worth A Listen: Various Artists - Greasy Truckers Party 2003
The main interest in this CDR from Ozit/Morpheus
Records (OZIT CD221) is the inclusion of four live
tracks from SpaceRitual.net, which make up around
half the 64-minute running time of the album.
The band is: Turner, Crimble, Slattery, Ollis,
Anderson and Dettmar, plus various others including
Ollis junior. Ron Tree and Jerry Richards apparently
appeared at some gigs but are not evident (to me
anyway) on these tracks. This is a more disciplined
sounding performance than on previous Ozit releases,
which may have something to do with Dave
Anderson taking over the bass role. Nik is in good
voice throughout (although he often recites rather
than sings the words) and he also contributes sax and
flute. The rest of the album has nothing to do with
Hawkwind and features Tractor, Richard Strange,
Guitar George Borowski and The Theory. The SpaceRitual.net set kicks off with a decent stab at
"Brainstorm", with Nik Turner on lead vocals and sax, and a Turner rap part way through. Aside from
female backing vocals, the sound is pretty authentic Hawkwind. "Sonic Savages" follows and is a fair, mid-
paced new number, apparently from the forthcoming SpaceRitual.net album.
"Watching The Grass Grow" is taken at a rather slow pace; a heavy arrangement with a long sax solo. The
pace picks up on the verses and, again, this is a solid performance. Track 4 is listed as â€œChildren of the
Sun" on the label but is of course "D-Rider". This has a slow, spacey feel, with Nik on lead vocals and flute.
These performances are closer to the Hawkwind sound and spirit than Nik's outings with Pressurehed and
friends. If the Spaceritural.net album does eventually appear, and is up to this standard, it will have been
worth waiting for - and Spaceritual.net might just move up out of the pub and minor festival circuit.
Worth A Listen: Lemmy - Born to Lose - Live to Win
Wendy O'Williams was a wonderful person but this doesn't alter the fact that this is a truly horrible track.
Lemmy's brief reunion with Hawkwind in 1984 on "Night of the Hawks" follows.
The last three tracks are less familiar. These are "Countdown" by the Albert Jarvin Band (apparently never
issued outside Finland) and both sides of the "Blue Suede Shoes"/"Paradise" single by Lemmy and the
Upsetters (featuring Mick Green). All feature Lemmy's distinctive growl.
This CD appeared in 1994 as Connoisseur Collection VSOP CD 206 and is worth acquiring if you must
own everything by Lemmy or if you have (somehow) never heard any early Motorhead.
Worth A Listen: Judge Trev - God and Man
Judge Trev (then plain Trev Thoms) was a leading
light in the original Inner City Unit, itself formed from
the ashes of Steve Took's Horns. He also played in
the ICU-offshoot the Atom Gods, then formed Judge
Trev's ICU - releasing the Now You Know The
Score CD, which mainly revisited older ICU and
Atom Gods material. He is presently part of both the
(occasionally) reformed ICU and the modestly named
Mother of All Bands, with Ron Tree.
Also appearing on this record from 2001 are
ex-Hawks Nik Turner, Harvey Bainbridge and (on
one track only, on bass) Ron Tree. Percussion is
played by ICU's Dino Ferrari and trumpet by Rick
In fact most of the songs are just Trev and his
acoustic guitar in folky singer-songwriter mode,
several light years removed from space rock. Trev's
vocals are reminiscent of Caravan's Richard Sinclair
and the whole album has a relaxed, pastoral feel. "The Lonely Traveller" features some very restrained and
tasteful sax, presumably played by Nik Turner. The affecting war lament "Battle" features Nik's flute.
This CDR is available from Real Festival Music (REALCD 005) (see their website for further details). By all
means buy it for the Hawkwind connection but appreciate it for the Judge's songs.
This is actually the back of the CD - the front's boring
Worth A Listen: Judge Trev's Inner City Unit - Now You Know The Score!
What made ICU Mark I so good? To my mind, the
combination of energy, subversive humour, a keen
interest in science fiction, smart lyrics and (relatively)
youthful exuberance, exemplified by tracks like "Two
Worlds" and "Bones Of Elvis". Who knows?
Anyway, after three albums, including a compilation
of alternative versions and outtakes, it was all over.
None of the later albums by subsequent line-ups quite
matched the first three. "New Anatomy" lacks
energy, the "Blood and Bone" EP has energy in
spades but old rock'n'roll covers are no substitute for
original songs, while "The President's Tapes" is
something of a return to form but plods where it
should roar. So then Judge Trev resurrected the
name for "Now You Know The Score!" (Judgement
records JUDGECD 001, 1997). No Nik, no Dead
Fred. Instead Trev, Dino Ferrari and hired hands
revisit "Skinheads In Leningrad" and "Virgin Love",
rather proving that they don't know what made ICU great either. So, no direct Hawkwind connection and
this collection of yobbish punk and metal doesn't add much to ICU's reputation either. However, it's still an
enjoyable album in its own right.
Worth A Listen: Michael Moorcock's Deep Fix - New World's Fair
This is a very, very, strange album, full of fey, wistful pop and
rock songs, mainly sung rather melodramatically by Michael
Moorcock himself, interspersed by short spoken pieces. Dave
Brock, Nik Turner, Allan Powell, Simon King and Terry Ollis
are all present on the album without imposing any of their
personality on the music. Simon House's violin playing is
prominent on some tracks however.
So, this is a concept album about the doomed romance of the
fairground or, if you like, Michael Moorcock as Jim Steinman,
eulogising "having some fun" as if it was a profound mystical
or religious experience. "The fair's nearly over dude; your soul
was the entrance fee and all they've left you is your guitar.
How does it feel dude? I don't care! I don't care!" Possibly if
you are 16 years old, you can relate to this. Otherwise, the concept is probably just a bit silly. Just to run
with the Jim Steinman analogy for a minute, this is more "Bad For Good" than "Bat Out Of Hell" since
Michael Moorcock never had a Meat Loaf character to bring his songs to life!
As a concept album by a sometime Hawkwind vocalist, "New World's Fair" probably rates alongside "Lucky
Leif" (indeed, "You're A Hero", with its irritatingly chirpy arrangement and lyrics about being "Valhalla
bound", recalls the Lucky Leif album). There are some atmospheric ballads ("Come To The Fair" and
"Dude's Dream"), featuring sterling violin work from Simon House, and some average rockers ("Octopus",
"16 Year Old Doom", "In The Name Of Rock And Roll", "Last Merry-Go-Round") but I suspect the average
Hawkwind fan is likely to start playing frisbee with the CD after sitting through "Candy Floss Cowboy" and
The CD (Griffin GCD 332-2, 1995) is somewhat different to the original album (United Artists UA29732,
1975), since it adds three tracks from later singles ("Dodgem Dude", "Starcruiser" and "Brothel in
Rosenstrasse") and the first two of these are sequenced in the middle of the original running order. All three
are decent tracks but none really fits, even though the first two were apparently originally intended to be the
single from the album. "Dodgem Dude"/"Starcruiser" was eventually released on Flicknife (FLS 200) in
1980. The last track on the CD, "Brothel in Rosenstrasse" (backed with â€œTime Centre") was released as a
limited (500) run single on Flicknife (EJSP 9831) in 1982.